Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The problem is with democracy, not with the birth certificate (from Belmont Club)

It is difficult for me to make such comments as must be made [about the revelation of Barack Obama's birth certificate] without sounding A) off-topic and B) reactionary; but since Wretchard quite properly brought up the subject of trust, all indications point to the fact that this discussion has now “gone meta,” to use the au courant terminology. We are no longer really talking about the birth certificate itself, but about the ontological wellsprings of power and the highly symbolic act of vesting authority.

Here is the situation as I see it. What sort of man Barack Obama is should have been obvious from the very beginning. It is revealed in his character, his actions, his speech, his physiognomy, his relations, and in all the other modes which we typically use to “size up” a person. Prudent people knew from their first glimpse of him that he was a dangerous manipulator, and that was enough to determine them against his candidacy. Since the danger rests in who he is not where he was born, there was no need to wait for a resolution to the birther controversy. The content of his character, as per MLK’s famous dream, had already disqualified him in the minds of the sober.

The angst of the birthers (I hate the unfortunate term—I am using it only for brevity’s sake) therefore cannot reasonably be attributed to a simple concern about the constitutionality of his election. In seems to stem instead from something like the following reasoning: “Barack Obama is just the sort of man who could mesmerize large numbers of the young, the unwary, the foolish, and the wicked; besides which, he has the entire PC, race-baiting, transnational Marxist machinery at his beck and call. We know exactly what he will do if in power, and the vision is horrible to contemplate; yet a crooked fate makes us look like the bad guys if we say so openly. Such conundrums are the inevitable crosses of trying to live like true conservatives in the modern world. Therefore it is necessary to expose him by some innocuous method. He has given us reasonable grounds to suppose that he does not meet the constitutional criteria to be elected president, and his character suggests that a lie on this score is not altogether out of the question. Let us press the point!” Of course, I am not suggesting that these words accurately reflect anybody’s conscious deliberations on the matter. Rather, this is what the birthers’ prudential decision-making would look like if it were translated into prose.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and submit that it may have been the wrong decision to make. The constitutionality of Obama’s election is not really as important as they’ve made it out to be. “Aha,” they might say, “You don’t think it is important that we might have been able, on constitutional grounds, to block this destructive individual from ever wielding one iota of presidential power for the bane of America? And to expose his aspirations, and those of the entire Leftist movement of which he stands at the head, as an edifice built on lies and deceit?”

No, I don’t. For everybody already knows such things about the Left, and the Left goes on anyway. In this particular case it might have made a difference, to the disgrace of one lone individual; but the Left is full of disgraced individuals, and the Left goes on anyway (as often as not, the disgraced individuals, too, go on anyway).

The crucial point was raised above, when we described Obama as “just the sort of man.” The sort of man to do what, exactly? Well, the sort of man that the preexisting Leftist machinery could use for its old familiar purposes. You see, Barack Obama is a type of Nazg├╗l, a creature hollow and fell. What he is in his own nature doesn’t matter so much. He wanted power and was ensnared by it long ago. Everything he is, and everything he does, can be referred to his principal, the Dark Lord whom he serves.

The real problem is not that a man like Obama became president, with or without a birth certificate (for the Leftist machinery could ever generate another candidate, and the defenestration of Barack Hussein Obama, even had we been able to arrange it, would not have done it any lasting harm). The problem is that we live in a world where creatures like Barack Obama are even thinkable in the first place. In order to be rid of them for good and all, we must destroy the One Ring from whence his power issues, the power of the Left itself, i.e. the power of modernity.

How did we end up with an Obama in charge? Certainly decades of Leftist agitprop and institutional reverse racism had something to do with it; but behind them lurks the darker spectre of democracy itself, that pernicious doctrine which holds that people who could not name the last five presidents should have a hand in choosing the next one. Yet the Overton Window slams shut on the tongue of anyone who dares suggest that democracy itself should be reevaluated, hence the difficulty and absurdity of being a conservative in the modern world. Apparently, even conservatives must hold to the maxim that the Enlightenment was just fine and dandy up until about 1920, or even 1933—it was only after that that things got out of hand. But as a matter of fact, politics in the Western world have not been “conservative” since at least 1789, and the adumbrations of that upheaval go back all the way to the 1650s.

Thus, I am not overly concerned about the constitutionality of Obama’s election. Being a Monarchist, I do not feel quite bound by the canons of the US Constitution anyway, since the document itself is irredeemably revolutionary. Whatever the means by which Obama rose to power, the fact that he rose to power is a verdict on the state of American democracy, and the verdict is one of rigor mortis. The task before us is to create by living example, and by the hard work of real-world politics (as opposed to the electoral variety), the kind of world in which just and free men can live in. We can only do that by recognizing that there can never be any rapprochement between freedom and modernity. The modern state is nothing but bureaucratic tyranny, be it in communist, socialist, or republican forms. Throughout human history there have been any number of tolerably contented subjects. There has never been a democracy that lasted much longer than two centuries. You do the math.


  1. Matt:
    You claim to be a 'Monarchist'...what would be your thinking if you knew that a native born American of Royal descent was in fact the rightful heir to the Crown of St Edward by virtue of blood ancestry?...that his claim on the Crown was in fact better than that of Prince Charles or any of the House of Windsor?...would you actively seek to see the American claimant crowned?...Needless to say,I have more than a mere academic exercise in mind regards

    Robbins Mitchell

  2. The downside of monarchy (a downside of any heirarchical system) is that every so often a fool or an idiot will be crowned king or prime minister or whatever. I know of no way to prevent this.

    The franchise should be restricted. There have been many suggestions as to what criteria should be met in order to be allowed the privilege to vote. Right now age is about the only one in place in the U.S. Personally I would up this to at least 21 and maybe 25. I would also add that only payers of net taxes be allowed to vote and that every voter pass 100% a simple test designed to demonstrate at last a rudementary knowledge of the Constitution and recent history (e.g. - name the last 5 presidents; how many branches of federal government are there and name them; name the governor of your home state and at least one of its two senators).

  3. To that, I would propose a constitutional amendment that we should not be able to intervene militarily any country unless at least half the adult population can locate it on a map.

  4. Matt-

    Great post. Years ago at BC I praised your sensibilities and eloquence when other were browbeating you and encouraged you to keep on in that direction. I'm glad you did, the results are evident.

    I read with especial interest the part about the obsession with authority with regard to the Truther movement.

    Your analysis is spot on with regards to the left and its dysfunctional attitude towards authority. I've always thought that nearly all of those people who put on bumper sitckers reading "Question Authority" really mean "disrespect authority". A few opportunistic, faux conservatives have made these mistakes too, albeit far fewer. However, I would have to point out that this approach is not limited to leftists on the political spectrum. A disturbing number of doctrinaire, capital "L" libertarians also share this dysfunction.

    At the time of the 9/11 attacks I was a pretty out-there libertarian. The libertarians had coopted much of the neocon language about the end of history, and it seemed that the age of anarcho-capitalism was upon us and that it would be a good thing. It seemed that the left was on the ropes and that we would enter a new age, a return to the decency and normalcy you reference elsewhere in your essay. I would guess that a lot of folks with libertarian, conservative tendencies were traipsing this way - it sure seemed like it at the time.

    The 9/11 attacks changed that forever for me. While I still buy into much of what libertarians tout - "bill of rights" type negative liberties, free enterprise, and limited government - I also have come to realize that the world is a dangerous, nasty place, and that some level of authority must exist in order to deal with the nastiness. And my fellow traveler libertarians were so wrapped up in their avoidance of obeying authority that they couldn't or wouldn't understand what was going on. I discovered what I should have known all along - that they were, like leftists, more interested in power and more interested in winning some imagined debate than they were in doing the right thing. It was then that I reconnected with a more true form of conservatism, and, not so surprisingly, became interested in philosophers and theologians who decried those folks more interested in what they CAN do than what they SHOULD do (in other words, doctrinaire liberals and libertarians).

    My conservatism will always be laced with strong libertarian sensibilities. I guess that's just how I'm built. But the straight line stuff no longer has a hold on me.

    OK, then, the question is now this. The American public, wanting a return to normalcy after 75 years of Gramscian and overt leftism, modernism, and postmodernism, is simply voting for "something different" every six or eight years in the hopes of acheiving said return (almost as if by magic), but failing each time. How do we break this cycle and get to that return?

  5. Gentlemen,

    I’m sorry for my delayed responses. I spent most of last week writing the long “memoir” post above, but I greatly appreciate your comments.


    Dear Robbins Mitchell,

    I wouldn’t mind hearing a bit more about your case, although I don’t know how “active” I could be in promoting the claimant. I wouldn’t interfere in the internal politics of another state without good reason, and I would need to be thoroughly convinced of the merits of the case. However, I certainly would like to see the English monarchy restored to its former glory. Almost anybody would be better than "Elizabeth the Useless."


    Dear Foont,

    The same downside exists for any government whatsoever, but it’s more destructive in a democracy since the people there actually choose the reigning idiot, and they usually choose poorly. The accident of birth has a better track record of nominating successful rulers than plebiscites do. But I wholeheartedly agree with restricting the franchise, perhaps to net tax-paying males who will owe a military obligation in the event of any declared war (to be fulfilled either in service or money as the case may be).


    Dear Tom Love,

    Good one!


    Dear Anonymous,

    Thank you for your kindness and encouragement. Your comment merits a longer response; so if you don’t mind, I’m going to quote this, bump it, and answer it in a new post. Watch this space for something this evening.


    Thanks to all for contributing,